10 Unique and Creative Gift Ideas for High-School Graduation

Updated on July 2, 2019
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Rose is a full-time freelance writer who frequently writes about education, special education, DIY projects, food, Milwaukee, and more.

Here are 10 unique high-school graduation gift ideas you may not yet have considered.
Here are 10 unique high-school graduation gift ideas you may not yet have considered. | Source

Are you looking for something creative or different to give the high-school graduate in your life? Typical high-school graduation gifts can be tiresome and forgettable. The ideas on this list are unique, useful, and sure to delight any young adult as they transition into a new phase in their life and education.

These 10 ideas are appropriate for high-school graduates and can be given by friends, family members, or anyone in between. They span a variety of price points, and some can be personalized to suit your graduate's specific taste and personality.

10 Gift Ideas for High-School Graduates

  1. T-Shirt Quilt
  2. Office Supplies Basket or Gift Set
  3. Book With Inscriptions From Teachers, Coaches, and Mentors
  4. Laundry Bag With Supplies
  5. Gas and Restaurant Gift Cards
  6. Subscription to Netflix or Other Streaming Site
  7. College Apparel and Gear
  8. Tech Gift
  9. High School Scrapbook
  10. Gift Related to Their Intended Major

1. T-Shirt Quilt

Many graduates leave high school with a wide variety of t-shirts, long-sleeves, and hoodies. Shirts celebrating sports teams, band competitions, dances, class trips, and more tend to pile up in teens' closets as they make their way through their four-year tenure in secondary school.

While these t-shirts celebrate great memories and organizations, former high-school students may not have frequent occasions to wear them once they've graduated—especially as they begin to acquire new college or work-related apparel. If your student isn't ready to part with their shirts just yet, consider offering to make a t-shirt quilt to commemorate their high-school experience.

2. Office Supplies Basket or Gift Set

Even though students frequently use office supplies throughout high school, they may not yet posses high-quality supplies of their own. Items like a three-hole punch, stapler, or high-quality journal can help equip them for the work and academia that still lay ahead.

There are a number of pre-packaged gift baskets that you can purchase from retailers like Staples or OfficeMax, but you can also get creative and assemble your own. Keep your gift functional and fun, and consider personalizing the contents with colors and styles that suit your graduate's taste.

Be sure to choose practical supplies that your grad will use in their work or continued education.
Be sure to choose practical supplies that your grad will use in their work or continued education. | Source

3. Book With Inscriptions From Teachers, Coaches, and Mentors

Books always make great gifts, but a book inscribed with meaningful messages from the recipient's favorite teachers, coaches, and mentors can become a deeply meaningful keepsake. In addition to close contacts from high school, consider requesting inscriptions from other important figures in the student's past such as elementary school teachers, martial arts instructors, or scout troop leaders.

Oh, the Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss is a classic choice for high-school grads, but other inspirational texts work as well. Even a blank journal is meaningful when adorned with words of encouragement from the individuals your graduate respects most.

The meaningful messages  inscribed by the graduate's mentors will remind them of all the hard work they put in to get where they are.
The meaningful messages inscribed by the graduate's mentors will remind them of all the hard work they put in to get where they are. | Source

4. Laundry Bag With Supplies

Like office supplies, laundry supplies are one of those things that high schoolers take for granted when they're still living at home. This may not be the most exciting gift, but your graduate will think of you fondly every time they use these practical supplies.

Big box stores often have specials on laundry baskets and bags during back-to-school sales. Fill a bag or basket with detergent, dryer sheets, bleach, and a new towel. Include a few rolls of quarters they can use for laundry machines to complete the package!

5. Gas and Restaurant Gift Cards

When my youngest sister-in-law was still in grade school, my in-laws frequently purchased gas and restaurant gift cards for me and my husband through the school's Scrip program. Grocery store, coffee shop, and movie theater gift cards make great choices as well.

When your grad is just starting out on their own, $25 off a monthly grocery purchase or the chance to have a nice meal out at a restaurant can be significant. Many big box stores and chain grocery stores carry gift cards in the check out area.

Gift cards allow your graduate to indulge in an occasional guilt-free treat when they're on a tight budget.
Gift cards allow your graduate to indulge in an occasional guilt-free treat when they're on a tight budget. | Source

6. Subscription to Netflix or Another Streaming Site

When I started undergrad in 2001, DVD sets were a highly coveted item. While DVDs are rarely used nowadays, streaming sites like Netflix, HBO GO, and Hulu offer hours upon hours of on-demand entertainment.

Access to one of these services can provide your graduate with a well-needed respite from their hectic, post-high-school schedule. While this isn't the most personal gift on this list, it will certainly be used and appreciated by the recipient on a regular basis.

7. College Apparel and Gear

When I decided where I was going to undergrad and got my first college shirt, I wore it at least once a week until I started classes. Even though college students will have numerous opportunities to purchase or acquire university apparel, having some initial gear to take to school is a huge thrill.

If your grad has college plans, you can't go wrong gifting them a hoodie, tank top, or gym bag from their chosen university. If you don't live in the university's city, consider ordering online. Many school bookstores offer gear and apparel on their websites.

8. Tech Gift

Young people love technology. Whether you go big and get them the newest iPhone or elect to purchase a less expensive gadget like headphones, a bluetooth speaker, or a USB thumb drive, you can rest assured that your gift will get plenty of use.

If your graduate has a vehicle, car phone chargers and media-playing devices make great gifts. If they plan to enter a specific field like graphic design or architecture, occupation-specific computer programs are also a safe choice. Adobe offers a variety of graphic design and photo-editing applications, and programs like SketchUp and SolidWorks are must-haves for 3D-modeling buffs.

High-quality noise-canceling headphones are a great go-to if you're unsure what to get your grad.
High-quality noise-canceling headphones are a great go-to if you're unsure what to get your grad. | Source

9. High School Scrapbook

If you are the crafty, project-oriented type, consider creating a scrapbook of high-school memories for your graduating teen. Be sure to include photos, but don't stop there. Tickets to concerts and sporting events, awards, certificates, and other ephemera make great additions as well.

For those of you who aren't particularly crafty, a number of scrapbook template options that can help you get started are available online. You and the graduate can work together to design the layout, or you can compose it on your own and surprise them. Consider leaving some empty space in the scrapbook so the graduate can add any important photos or documents you may not have thought of.

10. Gift Related to Their Intended Major

If the graduate in your life plans to continue their education, consider getting them a gift that pertains to their intended major, specialty, or area of study. For many students, one of the most exciting aspects of college is the chance to start taking more classes in a specific academic area that they really enjoy.

For the biology major, consider gifting a microscope and some blank slides. If geology is their forte, get them a pick, a chisel, and a Mohs hardness test kit. Blank notebooks and sketchbooks are always appreciated by writers and artists. This is your chance to encourage your graduate to pursue their specific interests, so don't be afraid to go big!

Questions & Answers

    © 2012 Rose Clearfield

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      • randomcreative profile imageAUTHOR

        Rose Clearfield 

        2 months ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

        I'm very surprised that 1) this is such a common request and 2) teachers are unwilling to complete it. It seems like a simple enough task.

      • profile image

        Marie Lavelle 

        2 months ago

        Please do not ask your child’s teachers to write in a book at the end of each year. I have had too many parents ask me to do this. Teachers time is precious with the many things we have to do to educate your child. We are working before school, during our lunch time, after school, and on weekends to accomplish our incredible task of teaching your child. Many of us have other employment to supplement our meager salary. Please don’t add to our already hectic schedule.

      • randomcreative profile imageAUTHOR

        Rose Clearfield 

        5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

        You're very welcome! That's great. :)

      • profile image

        Edi 

        5 years ago

        Thanks so much for featuring my album Rose :)

        And I love the tshirt quilt idea too!

      • randomcreative profile imageAUTHOR

        Rose Clearfield 

        6 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

        Thanks, Rpenafiel! I'm glad that you like so many of these ideas. A memorabilia chest is another great thought!

      • Rpenafiel profile image

        Rpenafiel 

        6 years ago from United States

        Great hub! Cool gift ideas; love the t-shirt quilt, so neat and unique. The tech gadgets may not be something of a practical choice but highly considerable as gifts for the grads, a new phone will do the same, if someone can afford phones like iphone, blackberry and smartphones then why not, but there are few practical phones from Nokia, Just5, Sanyo and Samsung phones to consider. You can also include a memorabilia chest to keep their scrapbooks, photos and other graduation stuffs for them to cherish in a lifetime.

      • randomcreative profile imageAUTHOR

        Rose Clearfield 

        7 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

        Thanks Shasta and Ardie! Shasta, you're right that many of these ideas would be great for college graduates, too.

      • Ardie profile image

        Sondra 

        7 years ago from Neverland

        These are wonderful ideas for a new graduate. I especially like the office supplies basket :) Fun!

      • Millionaire Tips profile image

        Shasta Matova 

        7 years ago from USA

        These are great ideas randomcreative, and would be very useful for high school graduates, and even college graduates. Voted up.

      • randomcreative profile imageAUTHOR

        Rose Clearfield 

        7 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

        Thanks msshandriaball!

      • msshandriaball profile image

        Shandria Ball 

        7 years ago from Anniston

        love the laundry bag with supplies and the t-shirt quilt.awesome hub!

      • randomcreative profile imageAUTHOR

        Rose Clearfield 

        7 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

        Thanks Alissa! That's fun with the t-shirt quilt. :)

      • alissaroberts profile image

        Alissa Roberts 

        7 years ago from Normandy, TN

        Great suggestions! Those t-shirts quilts are the best. My roommate in college had one and we all fought over it when we were cold. Very useful hub - voted up!

      • randomcreative profile imageAUTHOR

        Rose Clearfield 

        7 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

        Kelly, thanks! That's great that you'll have some ideas for babysitter gifts. Thanks for sharing my children's stories hub!

        Linda, thanks! That's great that your daughters still enjoy their HS scrapbooks.

        Sinea, I appreciate that!

        Jamie, including notes from close friends in a book is a great idea. Thanks!

      • Jamie Brock profile image

        Jamie Brock 

        7 years ago from Texas

        LOVE this hub, Rose! I love all of these ideas especially the surprise book containing all the teachers signatures inside. You could even have his/her close friends from school write some notes in the book too. That is something that will be cherished for years to come. Voting up!

      • Sinea Pies profile image

        Sinea Pies 

        7 years ago from Northeastern United States

        As always, your hubs are TRULY creative. I love these suggestions. Adding the link to my hub "College Prep - Getting Young High School Students on Track", too. Voted up and useful.

      • Sunshine625 profile image

        Linda Bilyeu 

        7 years ago from Orlando, FL

        I love the tshirt quilt idea! If I was randomly creative I might attempt to make one. I created high school scrapbooks for both or my daughters high school graduations and they still look through them on occasion. I had fun making them!:)

      • profile image

        kelleyward 

        7 years ago

        I love this hub! You gave me so many ideas on what to get my babysitters! Bookmarking this. Voted up and useful and shared! I added your hub on links for free children's stories on my latest hub about free thing to do with kids. Take care, Kelley

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